A Time for Everything
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
9 What does the worker gain from his toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on men. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. 13 That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God
In the conversations I’ve had over the past few days, as I’ve tried to get to know a little of the essential B. one word that kept coming up was “Contented”.
What a gift!
If you judged his life by an arbitrary, materialist index, it might seem that he didn’t amount to anything much….but all who knew him described B as “a lovely man” – reminding us that there is far more to being fully human than paying off a mortgage or engaging with the rat race.
................[personal biographical details followed here]
His final months were spent in ___________ House, where his undemanding approach, together with his splendid sense of humour, endeared him to many. B did NOT want to be a bother, telling both A & J that they really didn't have to visit, that he was quite OK, had everything he needed, was content with his own company.
No wonder so many described him as a lovely man.
We chose that reading from Ecclesiates because it seemed to sum up B’s philosophical approach to life…there’s a time for everything – go with the flow and enjoy what you can while you are here.
I’ve no idea what B’s views on faith were – but I’m certain that no matter what B thought of God, God adored B. That’s just the way God is, and after all, Jesus told us that to enter his Kingdom we needed to become like children. It seems to me that there was something childlike in B’s calm contentment with whatever came his way. As Ecclesiastes reminds us…God has set eternity in our hearts…another way of expressing the truth that as we are made to relate to God we will be restless & discontented till we are safe home in his arms. B never seemed to be restless or driven – so perhaps he understood instinctively that he was both fully known and wholly loved,
We may come to recognise this as we make our way through life…but whether we do or not, the love and the welcome are there for us. That is the message that will be preached in countless different ways, in countless different churches through the coming season of Holy Week & Easter.
Jesus, hanging on the cross, opens his arms to embrace the whole world.
"Look," he says, "this is how much I love you….and that love turns out to be stronger than death."
So, lets give thanks for B. that lovely gentle soul, and commend him now to the God who made him, who loves him and who died so that we might live forever in love.